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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Bella Toscana by Nanette Littlestone - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hey lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Nanette Littlestone and her new book, “Bella Toscana”!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Nanette and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

Bella Toscana
by Nanette Littlestone


GENRE: Women's Fiction



An explosive yearning that can’t be denied.
Disturbing visions from an ancient past.
A mysterious stranger that somehow feels familiar.

On the night of her fiftieth birthday, the comfortable ride of Toscana’s life takes an alarming plunge. Haunted by seductive visions, she tries to push aside the desire and focus on the husband who adores her. Then she falls for Flynn, a younger man with an eye for adventure and a heart full of romance, who leaves her doubting everything she’s believed about love and passion.

In Atlanta, Rome, and the lush scenery of Tuscany, Toscana searches for answers to the mysteries of her life while she faces her biggest question. If she listens to her feelings will she lose everything she holds dear, or does her heart hold the key to love and joy?



I loved him before I knew him.

Some people talk of synchronicity. The rhythm of life. I know of rhythm, in the lyricism of words, in music, in the ebb and flow of the ocean, in the monthly cycles of plants and trees. A beautiful orchestration exists in the simplest of nature. But my world operates on logic, practicality, reason. I do not believe in a grand plan. I do not believe in God.

And then he came.

Before him, I had a well-ordered life. Habit and routine carried me through the day, warmth and comfort eased me through the night. There were disappointments. Longings. Not all was perfect. But such is life. If there was no great passion, so be it. Peace is preferable to something wild that soars then fizzles and leaves you with an aching heart. I had a different kind of love—security, respect, admiration, friendship.

He showed me my lies in a slow creep of warmth that grew and teased and eventually began to burn. The thought of him burrowed deep inside me until I could think of nothing but him.

To this day I don’t think he knew what would happen. How do you know what fate has in store for you? They say man has free will to act, to choose, to create whatever he desires. But what of other people’s actions, choices, desires? What if those choices conflict with your own? We tried to resist the seemingly magnetic pull. We did our best to act rationally, to behave with honor and dignity. To be selfless. But love is not selfless.

Love is selfish. Love craves attention. Love needs to be heard, to be felt. Love is a natural disaster.

You may think this is nothing new. We all know stories of love. But this story is different. This story spans over two thousand years. This story began in ancient Rome.

So I beg you, for as long as it takes to read this story, to put aside your beliefs. Something took hold of me, pulled me along. Was it fate? Destiny? Divine intervention?

Look to your own heart for the answers.



For the Love of Chocolate
(written in the voice of Toscana Blake from Bella Toscana)

Do you love food? I don’t mean is it good to eat. I mean do you LOVE food, the way it tastes, smells, looks, feels?

I’m Toscana Blake, owner of Dolcielo, a store in Atlanta, Georgia that sells all kinds of Italian sweets. Dolcielo is a combination of two Italian words, dolce, which means sweet, and cielo, which means heaven. So Dolcielo is Sweet Heaven, a place where you can indulge your senses and fall in love with Italian foods—amaretti, pizzelle, torte di mele, panettone. I don’t make all of them but baking fills my heart with joy. With food I can give the world my love and the world will love me back.

When I was little I would bake with my mother. Her hands were so deft, so sure, and I would wonder how my chubby fingers would ever find that assurance. But she would smile at me and nod at my clumsy efforts and tell me she believed in me. “You will be a great cook someday, figlia mia,” she said. When I told her about my love for brownies, however, she cursed in Italian and slapped my hands. But that didn’t stop me.

I love chocolate. Adore it. Chocolate is the food of the gods. Theobroma cacao. Good chocolate is an absolute pleasure. It’s heaven. When I started baking, all I knew was that you bought squares of chocolate at the store, ready to use. I had no idea that it grew on trees. The cacao tree grows large pods that contain purple beans. The beans are separated from the pods and left to ferment for about a week. After fermentation, they’re dried in the sun for another five to seven days. Then they’re roasted and graded and the shell is removed. The nibs are then ground and liquefied, which results in the chocolate liquor. From the liquor you get cocoa solids and cocoa butter. To get that smooth, smooth chocolate that you’re used to eating takes blending. A lot of it. You mix the chocolate liquor with cocoa butter and sugar (for sweetened chocolate) and then add conching (grinding with metal beads). Then you temper the chocolate to give it sheen and crispness.

There are many types of chocolate from milk to dark to white. And many brands. Some of the best for baking are Valrhona, Callebaut, and Guittard. When I bake my signature brownies I use unsweetened Guittard chocolate, a high-end American brand. Good chocolate for good results. They’re dark, rich, and intense, almost like eating fudge. But, oh, so good. And there are six flavors, all with fruit, nuts, and liquor, and all with Italian-sounding names: Amureo – apricot, Amaretto, and almonds; Bellasanti – cherry, Cherry Heering, and pecans; Celesola – pineapple, Bacardi Gold, and macadamia nuts; Donamato – plum, Kahlua Especial, cinnamon, and walnuts; Elegrazia – cranberry, Triple Sec, and walnuts; and, for the purist, Divina – just divine dark chocolate.

Baking, for me, is like meditation or a prayer. My hands seem to know the routine but my mind gets lost in another world. I’m transported by the smells and feel of the ingredients, the soft cloud of flour, the slippery eggs, the sharp shards of chocolate, the richness of melted butter. As I stir and whisk I think of my mother and her mother and my relatives in Tuscany who have cooked for generations, who revere their food and wine, who embrace the gustatory delights and rejoice in each other’s company. I still remember being there when I was thirteen, seated with all the adults at my grandmother’s table, holding hands for the blessing before the meal. And my grandmother said, “A tavola non s’invecchia.” At the table with good friends and family you do not become old.

I hope you’ll come to love your food, and your chocolate, as much as I do. Buon appetito!



Nanette Littlestone never knew she wanted to be a writer until she was over forty. But once she began, the ideas didn’t stop. Her fascination with relationships, history, and the spiritual path has opened her writing to women's fiction, historical fiction, and inspirational nonfiction.

A native Californian, Nanette lives in Atlanta, Georgia, far from the beach (which she loves) but a place that’s warm with spectacular scenery. On the professional side, she helps entrepreneurial women write and get published with Words of Passion. On the fun side, she takes walks with her husband, cooks, plays with graphic design, and makes origami butterflies. She loves to travel, but she’s waiting for the teleportation machine to whisk her off to Greece or Asia. In the meantime, she’s happy with dark chocolate and romantic movies that make her cry.



Website & Newsletter:





BookBub Author Page:

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Amazon Kindle eBook:

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BAM! Books-A-Million Paperback:

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Alibris Paperback:



Nanette will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Nanette ~ Hi! Welcome! It is so great to have you here! Congrats on your new book and good luck on the book tour! :)

    1. Hi Ally,
      Thanks so much for hosting me and Bella, and Happy Valentine's Day!I hope you and all the followers have a wonderful day filled with love and chocolate.

  2. Sounds like a great read.

  3. A question for the fans - how many different kinds of chocolate have you tasted? What's your favorite? (I'm looking for a new brand of dark chocolate, so let me know what you like!)

  4. Great excerpt! And to answer your question, I loooove chocolate and make it my mission to visit different chocolate shops whenever I travel so I've tasted loooottsss of different kinds but my favorite would have to be Belgium chocolate.

    1. Victoria, thanks for responding to my chocolate question. Belgian chocolate is superb! Do you have a favorite brand?

  5. Ally, it's been a pleasure hanging out with you and the fans. Thanks so much for the opportunity. Have a great rest of the night!

  6. Beautiful book cover and intriguing excerpt - I need to know what happens! Love the discussion about chocolate - I *love* really good chocolate!

    1. Hi Sue,
      Thanks so much for the glowing compliments! So from one chocolate lover to another, what brand is your favorite?

    2. A friend of mine made a cake using Guittard chocolate and it was the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted.
      Regarding candy, I once got a gift of Jacques Torres chocolates that were so delicious and memorable. More readily available at local shops, my favorite chocolates are from See's Candy and Godiva. Some day I'd love to visit Europe and try Belgian and Swiss chocolate.

    3. Sue,
      Guittard chocolate is what Toscana uses in her brownies (what I used when I had my brownie company). It's wonderful! I've certainly had See's (my dad's favorite to buy my mom) and Godiva (I used to love Godiva!). I don't think I've had Jacques Torres but they look really good. Our favorite eating chocolate now is Chocolove - my husband likes the Orange Peel and I alternate several flavors, with a lot of 70% plain to try to be healthier (if you possibly can). I would love to visit Belgium and Switzerland and do a chocolate tour.